Last week, the world lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Both the musician and actor were 69 years old and lost their lives to cancer, causing fans around the world to pay tribute to the stars and remember their finest works through social media and memorials.
Celebrity deaths always seem to come as a shock to the world, perhaps because we hold celebrities to such a god-like standard. We expect them to be perfect and flawless, and we attack once they show any signs of humanity such as wrinkles, extra weight or a flub during a beauty pageant.
But celebrities do play into this image. For example, when’s the last time you saw a famous person leaving the gym with sweat stains or frizzy hair? Or a celebrity mom holding her newborn baby, who looks like she actually went through excruciating labor, not a day at the spa? They want you to think they’re perfect, and we love thinking that standard is attainable—whether through workouts, crash diets, makeup, surgery or other measures.
But then, death comes for one of them and suddenly we’re reminded that those celebrities we often attribute to being god-like creatures—well, they’re as mortal as us. They get sick, they die and all that’s left is their legacy. Bowie’s music, which spanned decades, changed lives all over the world and Rickman will live on forever through the roles he played, most notably Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series. Those two left great legacies behind, however, there are plenty of celebrities who left behind tarnished reputations. But you don’t have to pack out concert halls to leave behind a lackluster reputation, and you don’t have to be on the silver screen to leave behind positive memories. So what will you be remembered for? Celebrity or not, it’s a question everyone has to answer.